8/28/12

Hi all,

I have been working for a Big 4 strategy consulting division for two years now, and I am looking to shift to one of the MBB firms. On the company profile of the MBB firms on LinkedIn I see that most of the experienced hires in this firm come from the likes of Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, PwC Consulting, etc. Of course I cannot see in what division of MBB they start. Could be technology division at McKinsey for instance. What is your opinion on this: is a transfer from the strategy division of a Big 4 firm to a strategy role at MBB possible?

Kratos

Comments (48)

8/28/12

Laterals from lower-tier firms will likely be one of two things:

1) Junior people who are strong performers at their firm losing tenure to make the jump as generalists - driven by one-off business needs (off-cycle spots)
2) Strategic hires of more senior people (managers and partners) in specific practice areas/functions they're trying to grow - driven by one-off business needs. Likely to also delay your career in the short-term.

In short, be good, willing to take a half-step back, and most importantly, get lucky.

or you could just go to B-school first.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

Management Consulting Interview Course

8/28/12
petergibbons:

get lucky.

^ lol

from what i've heard from my MBB friends, you are gonna need a lot of that if you don't take the b-school route

8/29/12

I've heard it's possible but like others have said, you have to be good, and you need a bit of luck. Is there a reason you're not considering b-school?

8/30/12
Ghost14:

I've heard it's possible but like others have said, you have to be good, and you need a bit of luck. Is there a reason you're not considering b-school?

He's from Belgium if I read correctly - MBA/ B-School is not that common in Europe.
Probably already holds a Master's, then under some circumstances it might actually make more sense to get a PhD if you want to enter McK/ BCG/ Berger/ Bain in Europe.

I don't know how strong Big4 advisory is in Belgium, it will depend a lot on that.
In Switzerland I believe they are fairly strong in strategy, in Germany not so much.
Most people here can speak for the US market, but not really for other countries (apart from general advice).

8/30/12

As others have said, doable with a good dose of luck.

One thing I'd add is that the non-MBA hires from other consulting shops I know of have come in with at least 4 years experience, and have an edge in terms of deep experience in a particular function or industry.

8/30/12

Neither.

1) 27 is not too old for an MBA at a good school.

2) You're only doing an internship this summer. Do well and get the offer, and apply at MBB full time. If things go well, you've met your goal. If not, work at the firm for a few years, do your MBA Full time, and try again.

8/30/12

As someone who joined MBB after my MBA, please see below for my perspective:

  1. Unless you think that fifth year is going to improve your chances at getting into a better MBA program (and it most likely will not), there is no point in waiting. There are plenty of MBB MBA joiners that are 30+ so age wouldn't be a concern but rather, it's not going to do much for you.
  2. I've met a decent number of people with your background so it's definitely not unattractive. In fact, MBB takes people from a variety of backgrounds so as long as you can network well and kill your case interviews, your pre-MBA career won't have a material impact on your chances.
  3. In my opinion, there is no need for a CFA for either MBA or MBB. Is it good knowledge to have? Absolutely but I'm just not sure that it's worth it if you stay in consulting. All the finance that you will ever need to know at MBB can be easily picked up in business school. If I were you, I'd focus my time on studying for the GMAT and crafting your "why MBA at X school" story.

Just my two cents.

8/30/12

everything is possible unless they drug test you

8/30/12

you are also very modest person.

about the smart part - the "asian.." nickname is not the best choice..

8/30/12

A 1 year MSc in management is money down the drain. The only management degree that adds to your MBB chances is an MBA.

8/30/12

baykus:
A 1 year MSc in management is money down the drain. The only management degree that adds to your MBB chances is an MBA.

You are probably talking about the US recruiting.
Msc's add value or are pretty much a prerequisite for most positions in EU.

OP, Imperial/Warwick's 1yr Msc won't add much and firms hire mainly for regional offices from other top schools.

8/30/12

Yeah is that true? Give us a link. What a load of sillyness. MScs enable you get to get a PhD later on -- not have access to larger recruiting pool -- even in Europe.

8/30/12

Yeah is that true? Give us a link. What a load of sillyness. MScs enable you get to get a PhD later on -- not have access to larger recruiting pool -- even in Europe.

Yes, I can confirm this. Without a Master's degree you can't apply to most of the good jobs in Europe and will generally be disadvantaged. From my experience, more than 90% of my fellow students started their Master's studies within 1 year after completing their Bachelor.

It's a different system where an MBA usually only adds value for non-business students.

Not perfectly sure if all this holds true for the UK though, but definitely for continental Europe.

8/30/12

marcrich:
Yeah is that true? Give us a link. What a load of sillyness. MScs enable you get to get a PhD later on -- not have access to larger recruiting pool -- even in Europe.

Yes, I can confirm this. Without a Master's degree you can't apply to most of the good jobs in Europe and will generally be disadvantaged. From my experience, more than 90% of my fellow students started their Master's studies within 1 year after completing their Bachelor.

It's a different system where an MBA usually only adds value for non-business students.

Not perfectly sure if all this holds true for the UK though, but definitely for continental Europe.

OPs questions was wrt applying to consulting. For analyst positions a master's holds little usefulness, as you will mainly be judged by the school you went to and your achievements. Few of the BAs I know have masters.

Outside of consulting I tend to agree that masters has become the new bachelors.

8/30/12

G.M.Trevelyan:
Yeah is that true? Give us a link. What a load of sillyness. MScs enable you get to get a PhD later on -- not have access to larger recruiting pool -- even in Europe.

At least 90% of the consultants that started with me had a MSc. If you don't plan on staying with Big 4 consulting in the long run and you want to stay in Europe, get the MSc. From your Big 4 position, it will be very difficult for you to get into a good enough MBA program so that you can transfer to MBB and it will take a lot longer than one year.

8/30/12

In Germany Master's are still standard with Consulting companies such as McK encouraging people to get a PhD (or MBA when from unrelated disciplines) after a two year stint.

8/30/12

Hello again everyone,
Thanks for all your answers. I'm especially glad to see that it wasn't just me who thought that MSc Degrees are a prerequisite for MBB in Europe. As "atleastimnotabanker" and "marcrich" said, I also believe that you can't really get into MBB w/o a presigious MSc.

That being said, to be honest I don't really think that I would get too much knowledge from a 1 year MSc. which would be transferable to MBB. Especially considering the training that MBB puts you through.

I was also wondering if it wouldn't be easier to stay 2 years in Big 4 consulting and then transition to MBB as an experienced analyst. What do you guys think? Is it possible to get into MBB from Big 4? especially considering the differences between consulting projects.

What I also found interesting was that you guys think it's quite hard to get into MBA from Big 4 consulting. With regards to this, what profile do you think would have better chances:
1. 26 year old w/ a couple years of undergraduate work experience of and 4 years of Big 4 consulting experience (of which 7 months internship).
or
2. 26 year old w/ 6 months internship, 6 months Big 4 consulting, 1 year MSc and 2 years MBB.

That's the end of a too long post. Thanks again for your help. It's of great value to me to hear your opinions.

Cheers

8/30/12

They don't care, it's more about the prestige and academic inflation in the EU which is starting to creep into the UK because of the recession.

If you want to get a fair shot at MBB then an MiM at LBS is probably the best option because it gets recruited HARD for consulting (and IBD it is pretty gearded for consultancy). Then Oxbridge > LSE > Warwick, Imperial, Manchester

8/30/12

Due to the ridiculous UK fees for an MSc, and having spoken with a few LBS alumni, the ROI is pretty bad, unless you get hired in the UK at MBB, which rarely happens.

I believe that continental Europe has a few pretty good schools and you could get by cheaper. I was thinking a bit at Rotterdam since the MSc costs about 2k Eur and is well ranked (albeit not as good as LBS).

Management Consulting Interview Course

8/30/12

Positive

8/30/12

If by big 4 you mean Deloitte, then positive/neutral. The others? I'd say neutral/negative. Did you apply to MBB for the internship and got passed over?

8/30/12

I'm at MBB and did a Big 4 (not Deloitte) consulting internship the summer before my senior year. While it certainly wasn't bad experience, I think they were far more impressed by my previous internships and academics (I would elaborate but it's rather unique, don't want to give myself up). So try to distinguish yourself in other ways, don't rely too much on leveraging Big 4 alone

8/30/12

I'm a recent MBA grad, interned with Deloitte, and at least 4 of us are going to MBB for full-time. Another classmate came from a non-Deloitte big 4 firm and is interning with MBB.
Based on that, it seems that there is some upward mobility around the MBA level, and probably holds true in undergrad as well.

8/30/12

MBB hires far less for summer than for full time, so it seems like it would be pretty positive to get an internship as close to big-time consulting as positive.

8/30/12

I would say it's neutral. It's a nice brand name on your CV but it's not MBB or BB bank.

I worked in a MBB where sometimes they hired people with 1 or 2 years of experience at Deloitte (or other big4), and the hired used to start as Business Analyst lvl 0.

8/30/12

Best bet: You straight out of campus? If so, do 3 yrs Big 4 S&O (I'm guessing Deloitte, right?) > M7 MBA > MBB easily.

Still I Rise

8/30/12
Donni502:

Anyway, i was wondering, what is the liklihood of moving from being a 1st year analyst at a big4 firm to a MBB firm after 12 months? surely MBB's would prefer an analyst with 12 months actual consulting experience to a fresh grad?

I've never seen it. So my maximum likelihood estimate is zero percent chance.

Hate to say this but MBB don't prefer people with experience to young grads for entry-level roles.

8/30/12
mxc:
Donni502:

Anyway, i was wondering, what is the liklihood of moving from being a 1st year analyst at a big4 firm to a MBB firm after 12 months? surely MBB's would prefer an analyst with 12 months actual consulting experience to a fresh grad?

I've never seen it. So my maximum likelihood estimate is zero percent chance.

Hate to say this but MBB don't prefer people with experience to young grads for entry-level roles.

+1 for the maximum likelihood reference. And I've never heard of it either, but I have some sort of prior belief that it's not truly impossible, so your odds are slightly higher than zero.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

8/30/12

mxc is 100% right. Hence suffering for 3 yrs then hit up an M7 MBA does wonders for you. Just make sure you get on the mega, serious projects that MBB will identify with when you're making your move post MBA.

Still I Rise

8/30/12

"McK BTO"

Bingo.

8/30/12

Its difficult, BTO would make more sense. Practice your cases, anyone with a big4 should get interviews...

8/30/12

Try some humility "Mr. Flawless"

But in all seriousness, I'm trying to figure this out too. My understanding is that it should be fine, and in fact, score some points (you're doing consulting at a big-name firm after all)

8/30/12

lol at all the comments. i actually come across as a very humble guy, but thanks to everyone just wanted to make sure i wasnt damaging my experience

8/30/12

It won't be as impressive as another MBB. It will be more impressive than someone with lower tier consulting experience or none at all.

Best Response
8/30/12

I think the fact you sound like an arrogant prick will be more damaging to your candidacy than PwC on your resume.

Source: A former MBBer who went out of their way to ensure pricks they met on campus did not get interviews.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

8/30/12

Just trying not to sell myself short, I think the anonymity of posting on a forum gives people the right to be honest - - and rereading my post i don't think I sound arrogant at all. I was just trying to provide my credentials and stress the fact that I've always interviewed very well - - and believe me I've done enough menial manual and service jobs from early on in my life that I know very well how to hide and maintain my "confidence".

8/30/12

And a banana to Peter for keeping jerks out of firms.

8/30/12
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8/30/12
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